Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operating across the country have again bemoaned non-availability of loan facilities in most of the commercial banks operating in the country.
Different entrepreneurs who expressed their frustrations while relating their ordeal to our correspondent at the weekend said that it was very difficult to access any of the government intervention funds through the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), which they said had affected expansion growth drive in the real sector and undermined its contribution to economic development.
The chairman, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Lagos Chapter, Mr. Segun Kuti-George, said that none of his members had been able to access neither the government loans nor the banks’ loans in recent times.
He said, in spite of the deliberate efforts by the association to assist its members in writing presentable proposals submitted to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) for processing, nothing positive seems to come out of it.
Indeed, information gathered by our correspondent in his fact findings revealed that commercial and MicroFinance bank customers found it difficult in accessing most of the sectorial intervention funds, even Microfinance bank operators are lamenting of not being able to access the MSMEs fund.
Recently, National President, Association of Small Business Owners Association of Nigeria (ASBON), Dr. Femi Egbesola, noted that no business thrive in a country where there is no infrastructure, while its SMEs are facing enormous challenges in accessing facilities.
According to him, “we are in an economy where people in the small business sector find it extremely difficult to access fund. And then, fund continues to be the engine room for growth of any business. Without fund you cannot grow business. If people as big as Dangote needs to borrow money from the banks, who says the small business owners should not borrow money”, he queried.
Egbesola, explained further that fund is very-very important to grow the dying nation’s economy through SMEs Growth and contributions to the real sector which would eventually develop the Nigerian economy.
But regretted that small business owners in the country found it very difficult to access fund, due to the high collateral request serving as the major barrier for many small business owners.
“The same conditions they expect Dangote to meet up with, is the same condition they expect somebody selling groundnut to meet up with, which is not good enough. And that means that our government needs to do more in terms of planning and policy making”, ASBON president said.
The National Association of Microfinance Bank (NAMB), South-West Chapter, Mr. Olusegun Awosoga, disclosed that even most microfinance banks can’t access the federal government MSMEs Fund because what we wanted was that the portion that belongs to Microfinanace banks should be allowed to be handled by the association that knows its members and their needs.
Although, he noted that the apex bank would then monitors by ensuring that the funds are used for the purpose it meant for, stressing that is how they can get the money down to the grassroots that the money is meant for.
“But as a result of astringents conditions attached to this fund, most of us cannot access it and we are not even incepted to access it, but they should know that we would not do something that would have adverse effect on our banks”, he said.